Ground Report | New Delhi: Teacher who teaches free Urdu; “I am 76 years old now. I have been taking Urdu classes for over 40 years. So far, I have taught more than 14,000 non-Urdu speakers to read and write Urdu. To date, I have not taken a single penny from anyone in return. Muhammad Qamar Hayat, a resident of Nagpur, Maharashtra, India, has been teaching free Urdu to non-Urdu speakers since 1979 at the Vidarbha Sahitya Singh Institute in Jhansi Rani Chowk, Sita Birdi.
Teacher who teaches free Urdu
Qamar Hayat said that 75% of the people who come to him to learn Urdu are Marathi-speaking non-Muslims. “Since 1979, I have taught 108 batches to read and write Urdu. I have a passion for teaching Urdu that never tires me out. My class is one hour but for two hours I get tired and my students do not sit in front, Independent Urdu reported.
“I have a habit of never sitting down and teaching. Many times he suffered from fever, headache, and other common ailments but never stopped taking classes. Asked how it was possible to teach Urdu in a city where the headquarters of the hardline Hindu ideological organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Singh (RSS) is located and which is considered its stronghold.
Qamar Hayat said in his reply: ‘People find it a little strange to hear the name RSS but we have people of all religions living in Nagpur and that too in a very friendly atmosphere. No one has ever objected to me teaching Urdu. I have been given a place for this work by the majority class here. I believe that if Urdu has been harmed, then the Urdu people themselves are responsible for it.
The official language of Nagpur is Marathi. But the Marathi-speaking people here love Urdu very much. They want to learn this language. It is our misfortune that we do not pay much attention to teaching Urdu.
Beginning of Urdu classes
“During this period, we have got enough exposure to the Urdu language. Hayat sir has brought us to the (Urdu’s) doorstep. From now on, we have to move on,” Pendharkar told TwoCircles.net about his interest in learning Urdu. Another student of the Urdu class is 25-year-old Javed Sheikh, who is pursuing a PG degree. Already a holder of BCP, PGDCCA, MCM, M.Com, and Law degree, he now wants to go for BA (Urdu). “Language is lovely. Plus, once you learn it, you acquire awe,” says Shaikh.
Earlier this month, his batch, the 103rd batch of the introductory ‘Free Urdu Learning Class’, concluded. The batch started with Pendharkar and Shaikh as well as around 40-odd students from different age groups and different economic profiles. By the time the class was over, some of them tricked and escaped.
In the first batch of 1979, 180 people were admitted. I was terrified of how I could read 180 people at once. I told Dr. Mansha-ur-Rehman Khan and Mohammad Khidr Hayat that I was nervous about teaching so many people at once. “They told me to keep in mind that none of these 180 people know Urdu and if anyone knows Urdu, it is me.” It gave me a lot of encouragement and I started teaching and never looked back.
A good number of Urdu learners are engineers, doctors, lawyers, government officials, police personnel, and people working in private companies. Qamar Hayat says that he found this change in Urdu learners that they start behaving with great politeness and respect.